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17 Weeks Pregnant: Different Symptoms, Baby Development, And Size

17 Weeks Pregnant: Different Symptoms, Baby Development, And Size

15 Dec 2016 | 11 min Read

Sudeshna Chakravarti

Author | 203 Articles

If you are a soon mumma-to-be at the 17th week of pregnancy, you must be curious about how your baby is developing inside the womb and their week-to-week progress. You may also want to learn about some pregnancy symptoms you might experience during this time. For instance, during this week, symptoms like dizziness and fatigue may start to kick in, due to changes in your hormones, and a rapidly expanding circulatory system.

To make things easier for you, in this post, we explain how your baby is developing inside your womb when you are 17 weeks pregnant, the changes that are likely to happen in your body, and ways to care for yourself.

Your Baby’s Development at 17 Weeks

Let’s start by learning everything about your baby’s development and size during this time. At 17 weeks of pregnancy, your uterus will continue to expand and your belly will appear more rounded. You can expect your baby to make slight movements, kick, and be more active, starting this week. Also, most of your baby’s body systems will start to become functional.

How Big is Your Baby at 17 Weeks?

At 17 weeks of pregnancy, your baby will be the size of a pomegranate and could fit in your palm. They will measure 12 cms (6.8 inches) in length from crown to rump, and weigh around 120 gms (5 ounces). 

To get a clearer idea about your baby’s development and size, you can follow the pregnancy week-by-week posts by BabyChakra that give you a detailed review about your little one’s developmental milestones and common symptoms that you might experience.

Foetal Development at 17 Week Pregnancy

17 weeks pregnant
Your baby’s circulatory system will be fully functional during this time and their mouth will open and close too/  I Image source: MedlinePlus

At 17 weeks of pregnancy, your baby’s body will start to grow in proportion to their head. You can also expect the following milestones in your little one’s growth and development:

  • Skin: During this time, the skin is wrinkled and coated with vernix ( a waxy coating that protects your baby’s skin inside the womb). 
  • Mouth: At 17 weeks pregnant, your baby’s mouth will begin to open and close.
  • Eyes: Eyelids remain closed. Eyebrows and eyelashes continue to grow.
  • Lanugo: Fine hair develops on your baby’s skin, which mostly sheds after birth.
  • Nails: The nails will be grown to the tip of their fingers and toes by this time.
  • Heart: The heart is still developing and beats at the rate of 40-150 beats/minute.
  • Fingers: Unique fingerprints form during this time.
  • Circulatory system: By the 17 weeks of pregnancy, your circulatory system becomes fully functional.
  • Genitals: It is still developing. Female fetuses have eggs formed in their ovaries.
  • Gallbladder: The gallbladder starts producing bile during this time, which is essential for digestion.
  • Skeleton: It slowly transforms from soft cartilages to bones.
  • Spinal cord: During this time, your baby’s spinal cord gets covered with a fatty substance called myelin. Myelin serves the function of protecting and insulating your baby’s nerves and helps transfer the messages from the brain to other body parts.
  • Umbilical cord: It continues to grow stronger, and thicker.
  • Placenta: The placenta is as big as your baby now, providing oxygen and other essential nutrients to them.
  • Taste buds: It is still developing. By this time, your baby can differentiate between sweet and bitter tastes.
  • Kidneys: Start passing urine every 50 minutes, and the baby swallows urine present in the amniotic fluid.
  • Intestine: The intestines start making meconium (the first feces of a newborn).
  • Reflex: During this time the sucking reflex is developed, and your baby will start sucking their thumb in the womb.

Common Symptoms That You Will Experience This Week

At 17 weeks of pregnancy, your body will undergo rapid changes. You will also experience certain symptoms that are similar to the early signs of pregnancy. Some of the symptoms that you will experience are:

  • Skin pigmentation: You may develop brown or black spots on your neck and face, known as melasma. This skin condition is mostly caused by hormonal changes and can be prevented by applying sunscreen regularly.
  • Increase in appetite: You might feel hungry often, as your developing baby demands more nourishment for their growth and development.
  • Weight gain: At 17 weeks of pregnancy, your weight gain will be around 500gms-2kgs. This weight may increase by an extra 500gms, every week, after the first trimester.
  • Sciatic nerve pain: The sporadic pain starts in your lower back and radiates to your legs the sciatic nerve, which is also the largest nerve in your body. The pain is generally centralised in one of your legs and is caused due to the pressure exerted on the nerve by the growing baby.
  • Linea nigra: The dark line running from the centre of your belly to the pubic line starts to appear during this time. 
  • Vaginal discharge: You may experience a milky or clear, odourless vaginal discharge, also known as leucorrhoea, during this time. This discharge helps prevent infection-causing bacteria from passing through your vagina to the uterus. 
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome: This symptom is characterised by pain and numbness in your fingers and inflammation. This syndrome usually occurs due to increased gestational weight or obesity during pregnancy. 
  • Frequent urination: The hormonal changes in your body, and the pressure exerted by the growing foetus on your bladder can increase the urge to pee often. 
  • Nasal congestion: Hormonal changes soften and swell your nasal membranes, leading to a blocked nose. However, don’t try to blow it too hard, as it can cause nosebleeds.
  • Heartburn/indigestion: Due to the production of the relaxin hormones, the muscles in your digestive tract relax, pushing the gastric acids up toward the osephagus, causing heartburn. Also, your stomach being pushed by the growing uterus affects your bowel movements, causing indigestion.
  • Dizziness: Dizziness mostly occurs due to hormonal changes, and an alteration in your blood flow. Additionally, a drop in your blood sugar levels can also cause dizziness during this time.
  • Headaches: They can be the result of fatigue, stress, nasal congestion, and allergies.
  • Backaches: Your growing belly puts pressure on the muscles of your lower back, causing pain. Also, to support your extra weight, your lower back curves, causing soreness and stiffness.
  • Hot flashes: With more blood produced in your body to support your growing baby, you may experience hot flashes, as your body temperature rises by a few degrees.
  • Varicose veins: The growing belly puts pressure on the veins that carry blood from your legs to the heart and reduces the backflow of blood. This causes your blood to pool in the nerves, leading to varicose veins. 

Your Body at The 17th Week of Pregnancy

17 weeks pregnant
Your belly will grow more rounded during this time, and you may experience itchy skin

While you barely feel any foetal movement in your first trimester, in the 17th week of pregnancy, you are likely to feel slight movements of your baby inside the womb. This light foetal movement is referred to as quickening. Other bodily changes experienced during this week include:

  • Bigger breast size: Your breasts will continue to grow bigger, with the areola getting darker. Also, as there is more blood supply to the breast, the blue and green veins tend to become prominent. 
  • Itchy skin: Your skin stretches due to the growing belly, and that can cause a mild itching sensation on your stomach. You can apply lotions and body butters to alleviate itching.
  • Stretch marks: During this time, you may also notice stretch marks on your belly, and other areas like hips, and breasts.
  • Increase in hair volume: An increase in estrogen production in your body may contribute to a boost in your hair volume and healthy-looking strands.
  • Soft and brittle nails: Again, due to the hormonal changes in your second trimester, your nails may become soft and brittle, and grow quickly.

17 Weeks Pregnant Belly

At 17 weeks, your belly is more noticeable because your baby is growing in size. Your belly may even appear more rounded and your friends and family may want to touch your belly to communicate with the baby.

If you are curious to know more about your belly size, you can use a pregnancy month calculator to track your progress and learn about your baby’s size and development.

Do You Need an Ultrasound at The 17th Week Of Pregnancy?

When you are 17 weeks pregnant, you will have a prenatal checkup, where your doctor will conduct a thorough physical examination, and suggest blood tests to determine any birth defects in your baby. You will also have an ultrasound scan during this time, where you can hear your baby’s heartbeat, and check their development and growth progress. 

In case you are carrying twins, an ultrasound scan can help check your IUGR (Intrauterine growth restriction) to determine if any of the babies are lagging in growth. Additionally, a level 1 ultrasound scan is done to check for any birth defects. If the doctor finds abnormalities, they may recommend a level 2 scan as well.

Self-care Tips for 17 Weeks Pregnancy

17 weeks pregnant
Make sure to engage in pregnancy-safe exercises to keep yourself healthy and active

We have listed some essential self-care tips that you can follow at 17 weeks pregnant.

  • Follow a nutritious diet rich in fruits and veggies like avocado, apples, seafood, green leafy veggies, nuts and seeds, and soybeans.
  • Drink plenty of water, around 8-10 glasses to keep your body hydrated.
  • Switch to flat and comfortable shoes.
  • Avoid brisk and jerky movements.
  • Have smaller, regular meals for better digestion.
  • Avoid taking any over-the-counter medicines without discussing them with your doctor.
  • Take rest and make sure that you get adequate sleep.
  • Wear loose-fitting and comfortable clothes.
  • Engage in light workouts to keep yourself healthy and active.
  • Avoid fatty and spicy foods and caffeinated beverages.

Pregnancy Checklist at 17 Weeks

A set of checklists for the 17th week of pregnancy:

  • Start finding baby names.
  • Go shopping for maternity and baby clothes and other essentials.
  • Schedule your next prenatal appointment.
  • Book your next appointment with the sonographer as well.

What to Ask Your Doctor?

The common questions that you can ask your doctor in the 17th week of pregnancy include:

  • Is my weight gain normal?
  • Is my pregnancy healthy?
  • Is my baby’s development progressing at a healthy rate?
  • Should I make any dietary changes?
  • Do I need to take any medications for the symptoms experienced during this time?
  • What physical activities can I engage in?
  • What symptoms can I expect in the next week?


By 17 weeks of pregnancy, your baby will grow rapidly and become stronger. You can also expect them to kick and move a lot during this time, and they will only be more active in the upcoming weeks. Your belly will also grow in size and appear rounder this week, and your womb will move upwards and out of the pelvis.

To maintain good health during this time, make sure to follow your doctor’s advise and take your prescribed medications, eat a well-balanced diet, and also indulge in moderate exercises to keep yourself active.


Are you 5 months pregnant at 17 weeks?

No. You are 4 months pregnant at 17 weeks.

What are the signs of a healthy pregnancy at 17 weeks?

Your doctor will conduct an ultrasound scan at 17 weeks of pregnancy. If they find your baby’s size and development healthy, and no abnormalities, then you are leading a healthy pregnancy.

What is my baby doing at 17 weeks in the womb?

Your baby’s sense of hearing strides big this week. Also, they may make slight movements and kick from time to time during this week.

Can I feel my baby move at 17 weeks?

Yes, you can feel slight foetal movements, referred to as quickening at 17 weeks. 

When can my baby feel me touch my belly?

Your baby can feel your touch at 18 weeks, and they are likely to begin responding to your touch from the 26th week of pregnancy.

In what area of your stomach do you first feel your baby move?

You will feel your baby’s first movements on the lower part of your belly.

Also read:

18 weeks pregnancy symptoms: We have listed everything you need to know about 18 weeks pregnancy symptoms and tips to care for yourself.

Ovulation calculator: Want to know how your most fertile days affect your pregnancy? Check out this post for details.

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